SEATTLE – Songwriting finalist performances and historical societies and other group’s displays will kick off the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Centennial commemoration 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., February 18 through 20.
The locks are part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal which stretches between Lake Washington and Shilshole Bay and officially opened July 4, 1917. Rainer Valley and Fremont Historical Societies, History Link and Friends of the Ballard Locks will have historical displays in the administration building the three days. A 6-foot-long scale model of the S.S. Roosevelt will also make its debut and be on display in the building throughout the year.
A replica of the Roosevelt’s bell will also be displayed in the building. U.S. Coast Guard Museum Northwest permanently donated the bell to the Locks for its historical significance. The Roosevelt led the parade through the locks July 4, 1917. It is the ship Robert E. Peary used to attain the North Pole in April 1909. The Friends of the Ballard Locks display will feature the Roosevelt’s history and locks’ architect Carl Gould.
HistoryLink.org is commemorating this centennial with information about the canal’s history and how the canal and locks’ construction changed shorelines and altered the county’s river systems. Fremont Historical Society will have maps, photos and information that tell how the canal impacted the Fremont neighborhood. Rainer Valley Historical Society’s “The Last Resort – Lowering Lake Washington,” will illustrate how the lake’s southwest shores provided Seattleites an escape from the increasing hum and bustle of city life. It also includes some of the effects lowering the lake in 1916 had on these recreational destinations, before all the timber was cut, the rivers straightened and the wetlands filled.
Maritime Folknet, a federal non-profit dedicated to preserving maritime culture and history, hosted a songwriting contest which ended January 9. The contest gave song writers a unique opportunity to write about Lake Washington Ship Canal and the locks for the centennial and record it for posterity. Some of the finalists will perform noon to 3 p.m. February 19 in the visitor center. Winners will be announced by early April and a CD of the final recordings is scheduled for release July 9, the day of the Centennial Boat Parade.
In addition to regular locks events, summer concert series, garden events and car shows, other events are being planned throughout the year, with most being held before August. Many unaffiliated groups are also hosting events, including a 5K and scavenger hunt. For more information about all the events visit our partners, Discover You Northwest, centennial page www.makingthecut100.org. Corps sponsored and unaffiliated group events are being publicized there.
For more information about activities at the Locks, visit the Locks’ Web site at http://bit.ly/BallardLocks. Also follow the Locks on Facebook www.facebook.com/ChittendenLocks and Twitter, www.twitter.com/ChittendenLocks.